Thursday, November 28, 2013


It was a Visigoth fortress; it was the palace of the ruling emirs and the hub of the caliphate when Cordoba was the center of the world; it was the home of Christian monarchs, including Queen 
Isabella I and King Ferdinand II who met Christopher Columbus here when he was preparing for his voyage to the Americas.

It is the Alcazar (Fortress) of Cordoba which sits on the banks of the Guadalquivir River.  As you walk through the manicured gardens resplendent with fountains and water pools, it's hard to imagine that this was the location of one of the first permanent tribunals of the Spanish Inquistion, which was maintained here for three centuries.  Napolean's troops were garrisoned here in the early 1800's, and then it became a prison until it was restored to a national monument by the Spanish government in the 1950's.  One wonders--a monument to what?

The gardens are surely much more beautiful in the spring and summer, but their cool lushness was soothing and there was still a touch of color here and there.

There wasn't much statuary, which suprised me, but there were a couple of pieces that were interesting.

I can find no references but I'm guessing this could be Columbus with Isabella and Ferdinand.

The gardeners must spend hours keeping these trees in such immaculate shape.  There were dozens of them throughout these gardens.

And I don't think these trees are so perfectly shaped like mushroom caps without a little help.

I think these trees are left to shape themselves.  Anyone know what kind of tree they might be?  My Australian friend Diane answered my last question about trees.  The funny looking tree in the park at Cadiz is called a bottle tree.

There is nothing inside the fortress that reminds you it was once a palace. The years it served as a center of torture and imprisonment erased any signs of regal splendor.  One of the courtyards looked like an excavation site.

The opposite courtyard was a bit more attractive.

One of the few rooms that had anything in it, but I don't know what it was because there was no signage in English and my Spanish isn't advanced enough to read complicated explanations.

There were two towers, and I climbed up one of them to this rooftop where you could easily imagine its service as a fortress.

Back in the day, there were waterwheels like this that supplied the fortress gardens with water from the river for the multitude of fountains and pools.

Although it is my belief that America was already discovered long before Christopher Columbus sailed, there is a small thrill associated with visiting a place here that is part of the history of my country.  

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